This favorite resort of Black Hawk, situated on the highest bank of Rock river, had been selected by his father as a lookout, at the first building up of their village. From this point they had an unobstructed view up and down Rock river for many miles, and across the prairies as far as the vision could penetrate, and since that country has been settled by the whites, for more than half a century, has been the admiration of many thousands of people.
The village of Black Hawk, including this grand “look out,” was purchased from the Government by Col. George Davenport, at Black Hawk’s particular request, for the reason, as he afterwards told us, that he could leave it with an abiding assurance that the graves of their people would be protected from vandal hands.
This property including hundreds of acres lying between Rock river and the Mississippi, is now owned by Hon. B. Davenport, and as it has long been a pleasure resort for picnic and other parties, he has erected an elegant pavilion on its site, with a good residence for a family, who have charge of it, which will now make it the finest pleasure resort in that part of the country. And in order to make it more easy of access, he has constructed a branch from the Rock Island and Milan railroad, leading directly to the Tower. Now its many visitors in the future can sit on the veranda, and while enjoying the elegant scenery, can take ease and comfort in the cool shade. And for this high privilege the name of Davenport will receive many hearty greetings.
Fifty years ago (1832) we made, our first visit to Black Hawk’s Tower with Col. George Davenport, and listened with intense interest to his recital of scenes that had been enacted there may years before; and one year later had them all repeated, with may more, from the lips of Black Hawk himself. How changed the scene. Then it was in its rustic state, now this fine pavilion, being a long, low structure, built somewhat after the Swiss cottage plan, with broad sloping roofs, and wide, long porches on the north and south sides, the one facing the road and the other fronting the river and giving a view of a beautiful stretch of country up and down Rock river, greatly enhances its beauty and adds much to the comfort of visitors.
The following beautiful word paintings by a recent visitor to the Tower, we take from the Rock Island Union:
Black Hawk’s Watch Tower.
By Jennie M. Fowler
Beautiful tower! famous in history Rich in legend, in old-time mystery, Graced with tales of Indian lore, Crowned with beauty from summit to shore.
Below, winds the river, silent and still, Nestling so calmly ‘mid island and hill, Above, like warriors, proudly and grand, Tower the forest trees, monarchs of land.
A land mark for all to admire and wonder, With thy history ancient, for nations to ponder, Boldly thou liftest they head to the breeze, Crowned with they plumes, the nodding trees.
Years are now gone–forever more fled, Since the Indians crept, with cat-like tread, With mocasined foot, with eagle eye–The red men our foes in ambush lie.
The owl, still his nightly vigil keeps, While the river, below him, peacefully sleeps, The whip-poor-will utters his plaintive cry, The trees still whisper, and gently sigh.
The pale moon still creeps from her daily rest, Throwing her rays o’er the river’s dark breast, The katy-did and cricket, I trow, In days gone by, chirruped, even as now.
Indian! thy camp-fires no longer are smoldering, They bones ‘neath the forest moss long have been mouldering, The “Great Spirit” claims thee. He leadeth they tribe, To new hunting-grounds not won with a bribe.
On thy Watch Tow’r the pale face his home now makes, His dwelling, the site of the forest tree takes, Gone are thy wigwams, the wild deer now fled, Black Hawk, with his tribe, lie silent and dead.
Rock Island, August 18, 1882.